Monday, February 10, 2014

Operation Husky JOSS Force Day 2

This post is a continuation of my playthrough of the HPS Sims Sicily '43 scenario "0710_01 ALT JOSS Beach." The first part of this post can be found here.

Dawn D-Day+1
At dawn the situation has not changed a great deal as I've left most of my troops rest over night. An early morning attack by the 177th Bersagliere and a battalion from the 179th Panzergrenadier Regiment pushed 2/7 and a battalion of combat engineers out of the trenches along Highway 115. Otherwise, most units were static overnight, only moving to maintain contact with known enemy formations.

Two hours later 7th RCT is starting to flank the Axis roadblock on Highway 115 while 15th RCT begins the push for Station San Olivo. 2nd Battalion of 30th RCT is across the Salso and heading for Ravenusa. 2/7 has retaken the lost ground on Highway 115, but its companies are too battered and exhausted to do much beyond fix the enemy.

These are no coastal division trrops. Some Italian units are strong fighters, at least on the defensive.
To the east the remainder of 30th RCT has moved battalions to either end of the bridges and by 1000 have caused the defending Italian battalion to become disrupted. Unfortunately, the Italians quickly reorganized, and the fight drags on...

Ravenusa falls at 1400 to a company from 2/30 and the regimental AT company. It was undefended.

15th RCT begins to move to isolate the German battalion defending Station San Olivo. Progress is not what I'd like it to be due to a second battalion blocking access to the bridge and roads north.

The eastern bridge objective falls at 1400 as well from a concentric attack by 1/30 and 3/30 backed by the regiment's artillery and naval bombardment. It seems to me that with two objectives taken in this turn, Licata already taken, and Station San Olivo about to be surrounded, things are shaping up for an Allied Major Victory, even if the route to Palma isn't as clear as it seems.

Overview of the battle at 1400. The roadblock on Highway 115 is isolated and the last two objectives are so close...

The path to Palma is not clear. What is clear is that I don't have enough strength to take the town in a single rush. The Italian and German forces along Highway 115 chose to defend in place rather than retreat when flanked. They are taking terrible casualties, as is the isolated battalion in Station San Olivo, but neither is budging. Meanwhile, my own losses have mounted as I try and take these final two objective. Elements of Combat Command A (CCA) of the 2nd Armored have arrived (light blue NATO symbols) but are too late to force their way through to help at Palma.

And so I let victory slip from my fingers!  Honestly, the two planes and three AFVs I lost in the last two turns made up nearly enough points to have given me a Minor Victory.

Final situation July 11
I think the optional rules made all the difference here, particularly the "Quality Fatigue Modifier" rule. Under this rule higher quality units recover from fatigue much faster, while the lowest quality units take longer. This allowed the Americans to run over the low quality troops of the 207th Coastal Division at the start, but worked against me when the average or slightly below average quality American units ran into high quality German units. The German Panzergrenadier units proved very difficult to force into a retreat through assaults. Ultimately I think that I needed to better plan concentric attacks against them supported by more artillery. Any time I tried a frontal assault my casualties were bad and I didn't achieve much.

I'm happy about that. It speaks well to the fidelity of the simulation.